ABOUT

What is the Page Amendment?

The Page Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Minnesota State Constitution that would provide all children with a civil right to quality public education.

The Page Amendment will be a catalyst for transformative changes that will improve educational and economic outcomes for all Minnesotans.

Justice Page and the Minneapolis Federal Reserve partnered after a recent study uncovered the state of Minnesota leads the nation in education gaps by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The education gaps are present in all 87 Minnesota counties and persist over many years. To fight generational poverty and racial inequity in adulthood, we need to close the demonstrated education gaps we see in children. Named for the former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, the Page Amendment is the best place to start.

Our Current Constitutional Wording

The Minnesota State Constitution was established in 1857, along with an education clause, which stated that it was the state government’s duty to establish an “adequate” and “uniform” system for public schools. The current education clause reads:

“The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.”

New constitutional language would not only establish education as a paramount duty of the state, but also bring the conversations around education and equity into the year 2021 and beyond.

THE PAGE AMENDMENT

Education & Equity

The Page Amendment would inject quality into our constitution, ensuring that the state mandates that quality public education is offered to all people. Additionally, the new language would make education a paramount duty of the state. The updated education clause would read: 

“All children have a fundamental right to a quality public education that fully prepares them with the skills necessary for participation in the economy, our democracy, and society, as measured against uniform achievement standards set forth by the state. It is a paramount duty of the state to ensure quality public schools that fulfill this fundamental right.”

This amendment would make clear all children have a civil right to a quality public education. This is putting citizens in a stronger position and ensures the government is protecting their rights, not a system.

Why is the Page Amendment Needed?

A Widening Education Gap

Minnesota’s education gaps are widening. The gaps have persisted for decades despite the policies from the last two decades that were designed to close them. The widening gap is an indication that something must happen, and it must happen now.

Learning Loss during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Distanced and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating education gaps across the country, and evidence suggests that the most vulnerable students are falling further and faster behind when compared to their affluent, white peers.  A recent report by McKinsey & Co. estimates that, when it comes to learning loss, nearly all U.S. students regressed in both reading and math by fall 2020 due to lost classroom time. Students of color bore the brunt of the impact, with an anticipated learning loss of three to five months as compared to their white peers. The effects can be felt right here in Minnesota. In the state’s capital, nearly 40 percent of St. Paul public high school students had failing grades just two months into the school year. A December survey of several Minnesota school districts found that course failure rates have doubled or tripled at many schools. In rural Minnesota, students are dealing with technical disparities, as roughly 25,000 students didn’t have access to computers or the internet at home at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Researchers anticipate that learning loss will continue to grow and predict that low-income children and children of color will emerge from the pandemic worse off than their affluent white peers.  The pandemic is set to intensify our state’s education gaps if we do not seek out bold and innovative education policy.

Our Children MN

Following Justice Page’s partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Our Children started hearing from Minnesota parents, students and student activists, teachers, school leaders, business leaders, education reform groups are seeing the widening education gaps. We are a dedicated coalition who wants to see change and the Page Amendment is the vehicle to accomplish it. 

NEXT: HOW DOES THE PAGE AMENDMENT GET PASSED?